With the rising cost of utility prices and individuals wanting to make their homes more environmentally friendly there has been an increase of the use of solar energy. Solar energy utilizes the sun as a source of clean, green energy and converts it into electricity. To harness the energy of the sun for electricity special panels comprised of solar cells are attached to the roof of a building to absorb sunlight. The solar panels also contain batteries that can store energy for use during times when sunlight is limited. While the initial cost of installing solar panels can be high, the amount of money you will save over the long run will more than pay for the initial cost of the system and you will not be dependent on utility companies for your electricity.
How Do Solar Panels Work?
Solar panels use the energy produced by the sun and converts that energy into electricity and is a clean and renewable source of energy that is environmentally friendly. Listed below is a simple breakdown of how solar panels work:
- Solar panels contain photovoltaic (PV) cells that absorb the energy produced by the sun and convert that energy into DC electricity.
- Each solar panel contains an inverter that converts the DC electricity to AC electricity which is the electricity required to power the home.
- The AC electricity runs through the home powering electronic devices.
- The solar panels may produce more energy than needed or may not produce enough energy depending on the amount of sunlight that is available, so it is important to stay connected to a traditional power grid. If you find your solar panes have not generated enough energy you can draw energy from the traditional power grid and conversely if your solar panels have produced too much energy you can send the excess energy back into the power grid and many electric companies will either give you energy credits or pay you money for the energy you send back into the grid.
Solar energy helps to reduce air pollution by utilizing the clean renewable energy of the sun and converting it into the electricity needed to power our homes. If you are generating more energy than you need you can send it back into the electrical grid and received money or credits, reduce pollution and receive money going solar is a win win situation.
How Much Does Solar Energy Cost?
There are many variables that are included in how much it costs to install solar energy and include where you live, size of the building, type of solar panels, cost of installation, and potential tax incentives. On average the cost of having solar energy installed will cost between $15,000 and $29,000. Individuals can choose to pay the full amount upfront or many companies have financing options, so you can pay monthly if you do not have the full amount to pay upfront. The most expensive part of solar energy is the initial purchase and installation cost, over time solar energy will pay for itself and will save you money. Depending on where you live there are incentives available that will help reduce the upfront cost of purchasing solar. Solar panels can last from 20-40 years and have little yearly maintenance cost and your monthly electric bill will be drastically reduced if not eliminated completely, so purchasing and installing solar energy will pay for itself over time.
Benefits of Using Solar Energy?
There are many benefits to purchasing and installing solar energy and they range from financial incentives to reducing environmental impacts. Below is a list of some of the benefits involved in deciding to use solar energy:
- Save Money
Using solar energy will save money as you can reduce or eliminate the need to pay a utility company for electric. With the ever-rising utility costs this an save a substantial amount of money.
- Increased Home Value
With many individuals looking to reduce their carbon footprint and opting for more environmentally friendly products and resources, installing solar panels can increase the value of your home.
Using solar energy helps reduce the nation’s dependence on energy and contributes to job growth so the government provides tax incentives for using solar energy. Betwen tax breaks and incentives individuals can reduce the cost of their solar energy system from 30 to 50%.
- Environmentally Friendly
Solar energy is an inexhaustible, renewable, non-polluting source of energy. Using solar reduces the need for fossil fuels, reducing dependence on imports, and help to reduce global warming.
- Energy Independent
Installing and using solar energy can make you wither partially or completely energy independent, so you do not have to rely on utility companies or must pay their high rates for service.
- Low Maintenance Cost
In addition to saving homeowners money and making them energy independent solar panels have relatively low maintenance costs and the yearly maintenance costs are between $220-$300.
- Performance Guarantee
Not only do solar panels reduce energy dependence and save money, they come with a 25-year guarantee. This ensures that your solar panels will last at least 25 years, but studies have shown that solar panels perform for as long as 40 years.
Solar Energy and the Environment
Using solar energy not only can reduce your expenses, but it can help the environment as well. Global warming is not a myth it is a fact and greenhouse gases (GHG) are one of the major contributing factors. When fossil fuels like natural gas, oil, and coal are burned to create energy they release toxic gases including carbon dioxide (CO2) that pollute the air. These toxic gases remain in our climate system for thousands of years which is why it is important to find cleaner forms of energy like solar energy. Solar energy produces energy by utilizing the suns rays and is a clean and emission free way of generating energy. In addition, solar energy does not require water, so it also helps to eliminate the strain on local water supplies and reduces water pollution. Fossil fuels are damaging the environment, cost a lot of money to produce, and are not renewable solar energy on the other hand does not damage the environment, is inexpensive to produce, and is a renewable source of energy.
Choosing to purchase and use solar energy is not only environmentally friendly, it is financially beneficial as well. By utilizing the energy from the sun solar reduces the dependence on fossil fuels that are polluting the environment contributing to global warming. Solar energy also reduces dependency on local utility companies and reduces the amount of money paid to utility companies and saves homeowners a large amount of money over time. It is clear that solar energy is the future and by using solar energy you can help the environment and yourself.